By Scott Hagemann, Market Professional – Grade Technologies, Caterpillar Inc.
Usually when we talk about Grade Control, we focus on how it helps you DO work more accurately and efficiently. But did you know it also plays a big role in helping you WIN work? That’s right: Grade technology can deliver big benefits long before your operators ever take a seat behind the controls, and it’s quickly reaching the point where your bids may not be competitive without it.
Use it to create accurate, profitable bids
Bidding a project requires verifying utilities, estimating how much material to move, checking cut-and-fill distances and identifying what machines will get the job done most efficiently – just to name a few of the tasks. That can all be done manually, but it’s time-consuming and involves a lot of assumptions.
Grade technology helps simplify the entire process, giving contractors who use it a huge bidding advantage. They just plug in the 3D map of the job (the topo) and the engineer’s overall site design, and the system automatically confirms measurements, distances and material requirements. With that information in hand, they’re able to create more accurate estimates that result in more competitive bids – increasing the odds of winning the work and completing it profitably.
Use it to complete jobs on time and budget
Grade technology is a big time and cost saver on the job, too, which means contractors who use it are more likely to stay on budget and deadline – a great way to land future projects. Grade Control makes it easy to:
- Build a 3D model with cut-and-fill maps and surface coordinates, then upload it to the machines doing the work. Operators use that plan to complete the job quickly and accurately.
- Automate machine functions and guide operators to target in rough, fine and finish grading applications. That results in fewer passes, less fuel burn, reduced machine hours and component wear, and no material overruns.
- Reduce or eliminate the need for extra workers to verify control points or measurements. That saves on labor costs as well as time, not to mention the safety benefits of having less people working around heavy equipment.
Given how much time and money grade technology can shave off a project, it’s easy to see why contractors using it have a big advantage when it comes to winning bids. Some projects are making it a requirement. If you’re concerned about the upfront cost, remember that Grade Control can pay for itself in just a few projects. And if you’re nervous about technology, be sure to explore all your options. Simple 2D systems are a great way to get your feet wet, and you can move up to full-blown 3D systems when you’re ready.
The important thing isn’t where you start. It’s that you don’t get left behind.